Public Transport & Winter Weather - Your Compensation Rights explained

It is very frustrating to be late for your appointment, work or worse...your flight, due to the trains are not running. It happens every year, and still, we are not used to the winter conditions. Most of the time, the trains get delayed or break down because the tracks are iced up or because the overhead electricity lines freeze. Sometimes you can even see the lines sparking because of this. As pretty as this is, you just want to get home. So what are your rights when things go wrong? Can you get compensation? Will you be fed? Here’s a run down of terms and conditions the NS applies for those seeking compensation.

You can claim your money/part of your money back if:

You arrive at your final destination station 30 minutes or more later than scheduled, no matter what the cause of your delay is. This applies for all national trips with the Dutch railway company NS, also if you have a Railrunners or a Daycard + bike.

You are not entitled to compensation:

  • if the compensation is less than €2,20. 
  • if the NS has announced a delay or longer journey beforehand, for example on the website in the section “werk aan het spoor”. The law is a bit vague about this, but the announcement should come in a timely manner. 
  • if you travel by train with an OV chipcard and you did not check in and check out. 
  • if your delay is caused by another transport company, for example Arriva or Syntus. 
  • in cases of force majeure, for example when there is a national electricity blackout. 
  • when you travel internationally, for example with Fyra, in which case you must address your complaint to NS Hispeed.

How much?

The amount you get compensated depends on the price of the journey.

  • if you have a subscription, the price is based on the average amount of journeys a subscriber makes with his/her card.

  • if you travel with your OV chipcard and you are 30 to 59 minutes delayed, you are entitled to half of the ticket price. If the delay is 60 minutes or more, you can get the entire amount refunded.

  • when you travel with a monthly or yearly subscription or a day card, you can get half the ticket price with a 30 – 59 minutes delay and ¼ of the total amount with a delay of 60 minutes or more.

How to apply for compensation?

You will need to complete a form called “Geld Terug Bij Vertraging”, which you can get the NS to send to you through their website (registration required). This takes a few working days, though at peak times such as these, expect a delay. You can also pick up a form at an NS service desk or at a kiosk or Albert Heijn To Go that sells NS tickets. Alternatively, you can call 0900-1462 (€0,10 p.m.).

With some subscriptions, for example with an NS OV year card, you can download the form and fill it in digitally. You will need to register an account first through “Mijn NS”. If you have a discount card (“voordeelurenkaart”), you cannot fill in the form online, as you need to send your ticket as proof.

Similar terms and conditions apply for transport companies such as Fyra and Hispeed.

Okay, that is nice, but I am waiting for a train now and it is not coming...

  • if you are delayed more than 60 minutes, European law says you must be offered a free snack or meal, subject to available facilities at the station that you are stranded at.

  • if the NS cannot determine how long the delay will be, and depending on the situation, you may get offered free accommodation and transport from the station to a hotel and back.

  • if the train is standing still on a track in the middle of nowhere, you are entitled to transport to the nearest station or the final destination.

In general, in case of no possible continuation of the journey, the train company in question needs to offer you alternative transportation as soon as possible.

Transport in the city...

In Amsterdam, the GVB is in charge of running the buses, metros, ferries and trams. The rules described below apply to the GVB specifically, but transport companies in most cities offer similar compensation.

You may take a taxi at the expense of the transport company:

  • if your last metro, tram or bus has been cancelled and you are at a place that is not at a reasonable walking distance to your destination 
  • if you missed your last connection, because the bus, tram or metro was delayed 
  • if your bus, metro or tram had more than an hour delay

The condition is that your final destination is within the GVB network.

To apply for a refund, you need to download a compensation form from the website and send this along with the original receipt from your taxi driver – no copy. If you used a one-off OV chipcard, for example on the night bus, you must send this – no copy. Fill in the form and tick the boxes that apply.

Need more information or help filling in or getting forms? Need someone to write you a letter to fight your corner? Don't hesitate to contact us at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


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